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tv   France 24  LINKTV  October 16, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT

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>> a way of life in san francisco. when the next major quake hits, the city hopes a new law requiring seismic upgrades to five story buildings will help keep more residents safe and
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sound. tell me a little about the soft story program. what is it? >> it's a program the mayor signed into law about a year and a half ago and the whole idea behind it was to help homeowners strengthen buildings so that they would not collapse. >> did you the soft story program apply to all buildings or building that were built in a certain time frame? >> it only applies to buildings built in the time frame of 1978 and earlier. it's aimed at wood framed buildings that are three or more stories and five or more units. but the openings at the garage level and the street level aren't supported in many buildings. and without the support during a major earthquake, they are expected to pancake and flatten
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~. many of the buildings in this program are under rent control so it's to everybody's advantage to do the work and make sure they protect their investment and their tenant. >> notices have gone out to more than 6,000 owners of potentially at-risk properties but fewer than one-third have responded and thousands might miss an important deadline in september to tell the city what they plan to do. let's talk worst case scenario. what happens in a collapse? >> buildings have the tendency of rolling over. the first soft story walls lean over and the building collapse. in an earthquake the building is a total loss. >> can you describe what kind of strengthening is involved in the retrofit? >> one of the basic concepts, you want to think of this building kind of like rubber band and the upper three floor are very rigid box and the garage is a very flexible element. in an earthquake the garage will have a tendency to
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rollover. you have to rubber band analogy that the first floor is a very tough but flexible rubber band such that you never drive force he to the upper floors. where all your damage goes into controlled element like plywood or steel frame. >> so, here we are actually inside of a soft story building. can we talk a little about what kinds of repairs property owners might expect? >> it's a very simple process. we deliberately tried to keep it that way. so, what's involved is plywood, which when you install it and make a wall as we have done here already, then you cover it with this gypsum material. this adds some flexibility so that during the earthquake you'll get movement but not collapse. and that gets strengthened even more when we go over to the steel frame to support the upper floor.
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>> so, potentially the wood and the steel -- it sounds like a fairly straightforward process takes your odds of collapse from one in 4 to one in 30? >> that's exactly right. that's why we're hoping that people will move quickly and make this happen. >> great. let's take a look. so, let's talk steel frames. tell me what we have going on here. >> well, we have a steel frame here. there are two of these and they go up to the lower floor and there is a beam that go across, basically a box that is much stiffer and stronger. ~ goes so that during the earthquake the upper floor will not collapse down on this story. it can be done in about two weeks' time. voila, you're done. easy. >> for more information on how to get your building ear
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